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Old 06-12-2023, 11:32 AM   #1
AZ Traveler
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No More Gas Absorption Refers

The Western Rally in Heber City learned that Montana is no longer shipping units with Gas Absorption refers. You will either get a 120v residential model or a 12v RV specific compressor model. I have asked for information on replacing existing RV gas models and will share it when available.
 
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Old 06-12-2023, 02:29 PM   #2
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This has been in the making for some time now. I think over the last 5 years Keystone (and other brands) have been experimenting with non-gas refrigerators. It seems they are accepted pretty well by the consumer. So I guess Keystone decided to just go ahead and make the full switch over.

I have a residential in my Keystone Montana, and after mentally accepting it, I actually do like it better than the traditional gas / electric gas absorption units.

It really is no problem for those who camp with electricity supplied. But for those who boom dock, it does create challenges to keep batteries charged. Either way, 12 volt DC or 120 volt AC with 12 volt DC to AC inverter, keeping the batteries charged is the challenge.

Time will tell if this is a good decision or not. If I boom docked I'd want the gas absorption propane run refrigerator. But since I don't boom dock, the residential works marvelous for us.
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Old 06-12-2023, 03:54 PM   #3
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All Montanas come with at least 200 watts of solar, folks that boondock typically have more. I have no clue what boom docking is.
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Old 06-12-2023, 04:08 PM   #4
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A gas refrigerator is I must have for me. I’m a boondocker I’m not interested in solar so to have an electric refrigerator is definitely a deal breaker. I do understand why Keystone would go to them. These are high end units and few people use them the way I do. There are other fish in the pond.
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Old 06-12-2023, 05:51 PM   #5
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I’ve seen other reports that indicate that the gas/electric fridges are going away. Norcold has stopped making them. Sounds like Dometic is following suit. I guess the industry just keeps changing/evolving. From what I understand the 12v fridges are working quite well.
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Old 06-12-2023, 06:31 PM   #6
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It appears to be this Norcold model:
https://norcold.com/product/polar-elite-n20dc/


It's the exact physical size of a 2118 on the outside. If you have a spare $5500 laying around, it could be yours. It has the option of an ice maker.

Or you can buy the JR Refrigeration 12V cooling system replacement into your existing Norcold 2118 for under $1600 delivered.
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Old 06-13-2023, 07:49 AM   #7
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I suspect the boondockers are moving more and more toward installing larger solar systems to enjoy the creature comforts even out in the boonies with no hookups.
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Old 06-13-2023, 05:24 PM   #8
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On our power boat cabin cruiser I used a Vitrifrigo 12V refrigerator for 15 years and it did a great job, never an issue. Although we mostly boondock in our Monty I would not give up my present gas/electric fridge as it's on gas 80% of the time.
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Old 06-18-2023, 01:10 PM   #9
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Don’t know why they couldn’t make 120 vac standard equipment with optional gas as a special order.
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Old 06-18-2023, 03:06 PM   #10
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Just got back from boondocking near Bryce Canyon, in Dixie National Forest for 6 days, with other stops along the way. Had great weather. I have a 12v 150 amp golf cart battery. Have JC 12v fridge conversion on a Dometic 1350 fridge. I don't boondock much but would be impossible without a generator. Don’t have solar. If I did boondock more I would definitely go with solar and lithium batteries with generator back up. Had nothing but issues with gas/electric absorption fridge. Since switching to 12v compressor system have had no issues. Ice cream is rock hard and beer is ice cold. I know some folks have good luck with their absorption fridges but personal experience and lots of complaints about their absorption fridges on this forum and others convince me I made the right decision, for me. Does not surprise me that absorption fridges are going away.
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Old 06-18-2023, 03:20 PM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by AZ Traveler View Post
The Western Rally in Heber City learned that Montana is no longer shipping units with Gas Absorption refers. You will either get a 120v residential model or a 12v RV specific compressor model. I have asked for information on replacing existing RV gas models and will share it when available.
Why replace your absorption fridge when all you need is to replace the absorption cooling system on your current fridge with a JC Refrigeration 120v or 12v compressor system. Much less expensive than a new fridge and probably a better built, more robust, system. Comes with 3 year warranty (not 1 year) and option to buy extended 3 year, for total of 6 years. I was at their shop and had JC install mine. I watched them build their units while I was there.They use thicker tubing and braze their fittings rather than welds. I have seen the new Dometic 12v compressor units and IMO they use a cheaper, thinner tubing. Still, I’m convinced the compressor system fridge is the way to go.
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Old 06-18-2023, 03:27 PM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BB_TX View Post
I suspect the boondockers are moving more and more toward installing larger solar systems to enjoy the creature comforts even out in the boonies with no hookups.
We boondock probably 80%+ of the time with a residential fridge. I did have to add quite a bit of Solar but it works great for us. My 2019 3811MS came with Solar but the system couldn’t make it through a night if we had to us the heat or anything. I was supper disappointed with our Monty and our dealership after the sales pitch bragging about the solar. At this point there is basically zero sign of the original solar system. I do have a generator backup for when we have several cloudy days.
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Old 06-18-2023, 07:00 PM   #13
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On our 2020 330RL with the propane/electric refrigerator, i initially had a cooling issue that seems to be quite common with these refrigerators. I added one additional cooling fan to the exhaust grill at the top. This fan pulls the air thru the back side of the unit when the temperature reaches 105 degrees and exhausts it out the grille. Whereas the factory installed fans, a 4 pack of smaller ones, don't turn on until a higher temperature (not sure what this temp is)
There is a video on you tube entitled "Installing cooling fans on RV refrigerator" This gentleman installed 2 fans, (in my opinion, 2 would be better)
I have had zero cooling issues since then, running on propane, or electric. It is a constant 38 degrees and the freezer reads 0 degrees. The additional fan runs very quiet, and the cost is less than $20 on Amazon for all of the parts needed.
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Old 06-19-2023, 06:34 AM   #14
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after having a ge residential refrigerator in the Montana. i will never go back to as so much more efficient and uses about 3 amps when running
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Old 06-19-2023, 12:02 PM   #15
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My gas refer works better than most, but I am planning on getting the dual 12V comperssor conversion from JC Refrigeration. I just do not like the flame. The only decision I have to make is install it myself or make the long trip back east. I'm leaning towards installing it myself; does not look too difficult.
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Old 06-19-2023, 01:26 PM   #16
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We had problems with the Dometic 1350 in our 2019 MHC 330RL keeping cool. I would fluctuate quite a bit and not go much below 40 degrees in the fridge which is borderline unsafe.

After our last trip we decided to change it out for the Norcold N15DCSS 12V compressor fridge and it is absolutely a game changer! It gets as cold as the residential in the house and stays that way. There are two compressors-1 for the fridge and 1 for the freezer so the temp settings are independent. No need to add an inverter either! It fit in exactly in the same cutout as the Dometic too and it's 2 cubic feet larger inside that the Dometic and lighter. Why just do the JC refrigerator "mod" and not gain space?? If you are going to pull out the fridge you might as well get something larger.

We absolutely love it. Best "mod" yet. Highly recommend it.
"Residential" 120V fridges are not designed to be in an RV-no connection points to secure it to the RV fridge cutout and not ruggedized for travel. Go with something that is designed to be in an RV.



https://norcold.com/product/polar-n15dc/
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Old 06-19-2023, 01:30 PM   #17
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We just changed out the Dometic 1350 for the same Norcold fridge but the 15 cubic foot model.

We are very happy with it. It gets cold fast and stays cold. Put a bottle of water in it at 73 degrees and it was 37 degrees in about 2 hours. Can't do that with a gas/electric fridge.

Now we don't worry about food going bad.





Quote:
Originally Posted by jetskier View Post
It appears to be this Norcold model:
https://norcold.com/product/polar-elite-n20dc/


It's the exact physical size of a 2118 on the outside. If you have a spare $5500 laying around, it could be yours. It has the option of an ice maker.

Or you can buy the JR Refrigeration 12V cooling system replacement into your existing Norcold 2118 for under $1600 delivered.
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Old 06-19-2023, 01:33 PM   #18
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It's fairly easy to do. The Norcold is a direct replacement for the Dometic 1350 and the Everchill is close but the cutout will need some modification.
There is some wiring work to do.











Quote:
Originally Posted by AZ Traveler View Post
The Western Rally in Heber City learned that Montana is no longer shipping units with Gas Absorption refers. You will either get a 120v residential model or a 12v RV specific compressor model. I have asked for information on replacing existing RV gas models and will share it when available.
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Old 06-19-2023, 01:41 PM   #19
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We haven't been satisfied with the cooling abilities of the Norcold 2118RV fridge. It does fine overnight and maintains 34°F, but during the day it's always in the mid 40's. I had the unit set to the highest setting (9) on my tests last week. The freezer does ok, but ice cream is never hard. Gas or 120V it's the same performance. On 120V setting, the heating element uses about 625W. This equates to about $75 each month of energy (~$.17/KwH) at my location.

I ordered the 12V JC dual compressor and it should be delivered in the next day or so. The sun will power the 12V model (1200W solar/six 100Ah BB LiFePO)
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Old 01-12-2024, 06:44 AM   #20
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I have a Montana 3120 that the NorCold 2118 wire harness burnt completely trashing the refrigerator. I am going to the N20 dc . I was wondering in your case if the access back panels all lined up properly with the conversation?.
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